As official Artist in Residence of the Indiana State Fair, award-winning photographer Harold Lee Miller’s images will be on public exhibit throughout the fair, from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. August 3-19 in the Normandy Barn. The photos are from Miller’s recent IHS Press book Fair Culture: Images from Indiana Fairs.
Miller, an Indianapolis-based fine art and advertising photographer, will host an open house from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, August 4, at the exhibit, during which he will sign copies of the book.
Miller started working on a project to document the culture of Indiana fairs in August 2005 with a series of photographs of 4-H participants at the state fair Poultry and Rabbit Barn. Over the next few years he photographed county fairs throughout Indiana. In addition to the photographs, the book includes an essay by Gerald Waite, anthropologist and Ball State University instructor, that explores the history of fairs from the Middle Ages to modern times.
“I thought I was documenting a declining culture,” Miller said, “but I discovered it wasn’t declining at all. Indiana’s fairs are very healthy, and they offer us a fascinating look at who we are and where we come from.
“I wanted to present the people who are part of this culture as their own sort of personal exhibit, focusing on them in a documentational style that doesn’t romanticize, but records their dignity and humanity in a way we don’t often contemplate. Each photograph contains a deep archive of their personality and their time in history.”
Images from Miller’s book illustrate the Indiana State Fair’s website and are featured in the fair’s 2012 advertisements and commercials.
Miller will close his artist-in-residency with an exhibit from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sept. 7 at his downtown studio, 646 Virginia Ave.
Copies of the book are available through the IHS Basile History Market.